There isn’t a day I haven’t thought of Ruth Korder or the impact she has on my life. I know it may sound cliché but she was the worlds greatest mom and I miss her. I had no idea when Debby and I went to visit Minnesota last summer that it would be the last time we would see her alive. Yes, she had terminal cancer, but we thought we had more time and in a mere week she was gone. The day we took her to the hospital she was humorous and full of life. We had no idea that the grilled cheese sandwich she ate that day would be her last meal in her house. We had no idea we were saying goodbye forever. She came to visit Las Vegas with her sisters, brother, friend, and other relatives last Spring she saw where I worked and lived. I am grateful she could see the life I live. Hopefully she had peace of mind that I had finally overcome some enormous mountains and finally had some stability in life. Below is her obituary which was written by my brother Dean. Also included is the eulogy I presented during her funeral.
Ruth Ann Korder (Putz), 77
Ruth A. Korder of Winona, Minnesota passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, August 3, 2014, surrounded by family, at Gunderson Health Systems in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
She was born in Owatonna, Minnesota to the late Raymond Putz and Bernice Malles (Putz, Busch) on March 20, 1937. She was so small she could fit in a shoe box and almost did not survive the harsh March weather. Her father died in a tragic fire early in her life and her mother then married the late Alfred Engel.
The family moved to a farm outside of Cochrane, Wisconsin. Ruth learned to bake in her mother’s kitchen, played the organ at church, and loved to sing. As she grew older, Ruth became a farm girl that wanted to escape the farm and see the world.
Ruth Putz married Eugene F. Korder on July 30, 1955. That began their fifty-nine year love affair and the start of their family of five. Sherri (Millner) came along in 1956. Dean followed in 1959. Vance in 1960. Kristi (Beeman) in 1964. And Casey in 1965. Their large family in tow, Ruth and Eugene moved where the Air Force took them, including stops in Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Plattsburg Air Force base in New York. The travel and the constant relocating instilled Ruth with an appetite for travel which, in her later years, she would share with her family and siblings. When Eugene’s father died, the family made the decision to move closer to home and this landed the family in Winona, Minnesota where they have lived for over four decades.
Besides being a devoted wife and mother, Ruth was always working to help support her family while Eugene was in the Air Force and after he retired. She worked at St. Mary’s University, Hal Leonard Publishing, and then as business manager and financial planner for the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. She coordinated volunteers and brought the parish into the modern age with her knowledge of computers. Ruth loved the pursuit of knowledge and continually challenged herself to learn. One of her proudest moments was in 1996 when she earned her Bachelors Degree as a Certified Public Accountant from Winona State University at the young age of 59.
Ruth was a vivacious woman whose life of love and happiness was spread in part to all who crossed her path. Family and friends were Ruth’s life and inspiration. She was the calendar grandma at Christmas and the homemade birthday card great grandma who always seemed to remember everyone’s special day.
Halloween was one of her favorite holidays. In 2002, her great grandchildren cajoled her into having a haunted house. She couldn’t refuse. That was the start of a new tradition that still carries on. Ruth always involved any and all children that wanted to help and participate. It has always been a special event for all involved.
Ruth’s artistic vision was articulated in many ways. Once running a small ceramic studio in the basement of her home and, after she retired, working at the local scrapbook store, Scrapper’s Haven, teaching classes and spending most of her earnings on supplies. She enjoyed crafts, sewing, trying new recipes, quilting, knitting, puzzles, games, crossword puzzles, cooking shows, and reading every and any book she could get her hands on; even the electronic variety with her Ipad.
She continually sought new creative outlets and there was nothing she couldn’t tackle. From building bookcases, insulating garages, wallpapering, and painting, she was an avid home decorator and remodeler.
She had a fondness for the New York Yankees and the Green Bay Packers. As a die-hard Packer fan she took many trips with her husband and family to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. When the Packers offered public stock options she had to buy a piece of her favorite team. She proudly displayed her share in her “Packer Room,” She loved Brett Farve, even when he spent two years in a purple jersey!
But above all, Ruth loved her family. She loved having a houseful of people for Easter and Christmas dinners. Amid the chaos her warm personality, her sense of humor, and her touch of sarcasm came through. She was not afraid to speak her mind, but also was the first to offer encouragement and support when needed. She was quiet and thoughtful and protective of her family. Ruth will be dearly missed because she was the glue that has held us all together for so many years.
In the past few years, Ruth has dedicated herself to her husband, Eugene, after he suffered a stroke. If you wanted to know what true love was, all you had to do was see the two of them interact. She cared for him with a warm heart, a gentle touch, absolute love, and tucked him into bed every night with a song.
Ruth is survived by her brothers: Jerry (Jan) Putz, Robert Engel, William (Betty) Engel, her sisters: Rose Mary (John) Staige, Susan (Michael) Ellis, and Lucy (Anthony) Wolfe, her daughters: Sherri (Jerry) Millner, Kristi (Bob) Beeman, her sons: Casey Korder, Dean Korder. And her loving husband Eugene. She also leaves a legacy of six grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild.. She was preceded in death by her father, Raymond Putz, her mother, Bernice Malles/Putz/Engel/Busch, her brother, Ron Putz, and her son, Vance Korder.
Visitation will be held Thursday, August 7, at 9:30 a.m. at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 360 Main Street Winona, Minnesota. A Memorial Prayer service, officiated by Father Tom Neihaus of Mankato, will follow in the church at 10:30 a.m.. A luncheon will be served in the church basement immediately following the service. Come and help us celebrate Ruth’s lush life. As Ruth would have wanted it, all are welcome.
Ruth’s final interment will be held at a later date at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In lieu of flowers, please consider food and household gift cards to ensure the continued support of her husband, Eugene.
Funeral Services provided by Hoff Funeral and Cremation Service, Winona, MN. Visit, their website, http://www.hofffuneral.com , to view Ruth’s memorial video and share any stories or comments you may have of Ruth.
Written by Dean Korder
I’m Casey Korder son of Ruth Korder and Eugene Korder I am one of five children Ruth Korder had. We are here today mourning the loss but mostly importantly celebrating the life of Ruth Korder. You cannot sum up in five minutes how much she touched us all. I am supposed to keep this simple but mom never did anything simple despite saying she would. Ruth Korder was not a simple human being by any means.
Ruth Korder was a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt , friend and overall wonderful person. Ruth Korder liked to celebrate life and bring family and friends together. She was the glue in our family the one who held it all together.
I have asked others to describe her or share a story about her … I cannot read them all so I will share a few things of what others have said about Ruth Korder at the end we will take a moment of silence for all to share in their own way.
Incredible is the verb my sister Sherri used to describe mom. She excelled at everything she attempted small and large.
Vivacious is the word My brother Dean used to describe mom he says she was a vivacious woman whose love of life and happiness was spread in part to all who crossed her path. Family and friends were Ruth’s life and inspiration. She was the calendar grandma at Christmas and the homemade birthday card great grandma who always seemed to remember everyone’s special day.
Accepting was how Kristi and Bob described Ruth. They said She would always invite new people into her home that relatives and friends brought for family dinners. Kristi said, “My husband, Bob, and I would attend Easter or Christmas dinner and say…who is that? We tried to get the names down because we knew they would possibly show up again because they were always invited.”
Creative is how Tony Korder described his Grandma. Ruth was always creating things whether it was a scrapbook, afghan, , quilt or any number of projects she had going on. Some say she was an extreme multitasker and always seemed to be working on something.
Unique is how Josh described his grandma he said grandma never adhered to any one style she never let anything influence her she seemed to always blaze her own trail.
Diligent and happy was how Her grandson Buck described her. He said he she was always on top of her game and she was all the way up to the moment her heart gave out. He also said she was always happy and he often thought “Why is she so friggin happy?”
Kindhearted was how Samantha her great granddaughter described her because Ruth would go out of her way to help people.
Knowledgable is what many people said.
She was an avid reader and loved the pursuit of knowledge she was always reading and often had more than one book she was engrossed in.
Business minded was how some people described Ruth despite being retired from Cathedral for many years our mom never truly retired.
Passionate traveler – Ruth spent many summer’s weeks at a time traveling with her daughter, Kristi, and granddaughters Kristal and Haley exploring the United States and Canada. Since retiring she has taken time to travel with her sisters and brother. She truly enjoyed those trips and it was something she always spoke fondly of.
Stubborn – Ruth Korder never gave up even as she lay dying she never gave up and knew that there was still so much more to do. Rosemary her sister told a story the other day about when she was born she wasn’t expected to survive and she was fed from, an eyedropper, kept in box, and set by the stove to keep warm. This was 1937 around the time of the Great Depression and the doctor came around to check up on Bernice my grandma and was amazed little Ruthie was still alive.
Persistent – Our mom was a fighter from beginning to end. She resisted death but knew it was coming however her wit, charm and sarcasm remained intact until the end. The last time I saw her she was telling a doctor that she didn’t understand what she was saying because the lady kept repeating herself five times over and she grew tired of hearing her repeat herself so my mom said in a sarcastic tone, “I don’t know what you’re saying!” The doctor finally figured out that my mom truly knew what she was saying and the doctor said, “My you’re a feisty one”. Yes Ruth Korder the feisty one who even on her death bed never lost a beat she was coherent and had her wits about her until 10 am on August 3rd.
She was a fighter, survivor, and lived her life to the fullest. She was compassionate, caring, stern, and an all-around good person.
Loving wife – is what my dad would say. she was a Loving wife for 59 years she was devoted to our dad Eugene in sickness and in health. My brother Dean said if you wanted to know what true love was, all you had to do was see the two of them interact. She cared for him with a warm heart, a gentle touch, and absolute love, and tucked him into bed every night with a song.
Most importantly she loved people and would do anything for anyone, however, she wasn’t easily swindled. I know each of you have your own relationship with Ruth and I hope she will live on in spirit despite her body giving out. It is hard to believe she has left because she has been such an integral part of each person here. She wouldn’t want us to stop living because she is gone she would want us to live and be happy.
Growing up she often gave advice sometimes in a very nonlinear way but the most important thing she would say to me was, “As long as you’re happy”. For many years I wasn’t happy and she knew that but she never stopped loving me and she would always come back to those words of advice “As long as you’re happy”.. She wouldn’t want any of us to stop being happy I think if she was here she would say don’t take too much time mourning and grieving for me because I want you to keep living and being happy. She would want to be remembered in life.
Ruth Korder had many traditions and hopefully some of those traditions will be kept alive. She put together many photo albums and this is what she said in one of her notebooks in regards to her scrapbooks I want to leave the stories of what we did and where we went for the future generations of my family I want them to know their ancestors. She was archiving for future generations we live in a world of great change but we can make the world a better place to live if we just learn how to live like Ruth Korder did.
Her favorite quote was by James dean which states, “Dream as if you live forever live as if you’ll die today”. I truly believed she had no regrets and didn’t live in the past she made every day count. Ruth Korder did not want to die on August 3rd her projects were not complete but she has left us to work on new projects and have other travels. I truly feel she found her peace and truly believe she wants us to be happy and to continue living life. She wants us to continue to dream as if you live forever and to live as if you’ll die today.
There are some many words to describe Ruth, mom, sister, grandma, friend and more… Please take a moment to share silently your word for her and the reason behind this or any other thoughts you may have for her.
My mom would sing a song to my dad every night after he had his stroke it was her way of saying even though we aren’t sleeping side by side we are never truly apart and that she loved him dearly. I would like to play the song so we can send Ruthie off on her journey.
Before I do that I have few more things to say please if you can stop by the house once in awhile to visit my dad and brother Ruth was worried that if she left first that they would be left alone. Finally My family would like to Thank you all for coming to celebrate the wonderful life of Ruth Korder.